Composting: the new recycling

Admittedly, it’s been forever since my last post and I’m sorry about that. I want to shout to all who are listening: I’m still here! It’s been a busy summer for me and Mr. Green that culminated in a huge move for both of us at the end of August. Yes, all, Mr. Green and I now share the same, greener, roof!

The guilt I’ve felt over the last several months for not posting has been mounting, but instead of pushing me to post, it’s been paralyzing. I’ve felt that the post of my return has to be epic, as if in its epic-ness it will make up for the last several months of radio silence.

Before you get your hopes up I’m afraid this isn’t the blockbuster blog post I’ve imagined, but, hopefully, it’ll do?

Since moving in with Mr. Green, I’ve picked up a new habit: composting.

Mr. Green and I live in a building that was one of the 30 multi-unit buildings selected for the City’s organics collection pilot. We’re joining the thousands of other Toronto families that separate their fruits skins and egg shells in an effort to reduce their impact on the environment.

But I’ve learned that composting in an apartment building isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires commitment, space and some days, a strong stomach. And for us, the challenge of separating our coffee grinds from the non-recyclables also requires a little patience and a sense of humour.

When I first moved in, Mr. Green insisted on keeping the bag of food waste in the sink. He claimed that leaving the food entrails in the sink was convenient, much more so than storing them in the organics container under the sink. He  also claimed that bending down to retrieve the bag either during food preparation or when it was time to dispose of it, was just too much for him to handle – the energy requirement too great for him to consider putting the compost bag in its “home” under the sink. And then he’d wonder why we had a persistent cloud of fruit flies or a funky smelling apartment.

Despite several conversations, Mr. Green and I are still a little at odds when it comes to where our bag of food scraps should be stored, but, most days, you can find it tucked away neatly under the sink where the offensive odour of rotting rinds is contained. And on the mornings when it’s time to carry our food waste down to our building’s green container, I try to be the one who bends down, opens the cupboard door, and lifts our compost bag from its home, saving Mr. Green the extra effort, before handing the bag over to him for disposal. I’m very lucky that he recognizes the danger of carrying our compost down the hall, into the elevator, and outside to the green bin when you’re dressed for work. Our building’s green bin is pretty filthy, so the likelihood of a food scrap ending up on your shoe is high.

But is all this effort really doing the planet any good? In a word, yes.

In Toronto, organic waste accounts for 30 per cent of trash going to landfill. The City has an ambitious plan to divert 70 per cent of its garbage away from landfill, so among many other initiatives runs the largest organic waste diversion program on the continent. Last year, 2,500 fewer trucks hit the road to Michigan which meant 85,000 tonnes of organic waste were diverted thanks to the 87 per cent of Toronto homes that support the City’s plan.   

This is very good news because organic waste that ends up in landfills decompose without oxygen, producing methane – a greenhouse gas known to contribute to global warming.

At the moment, only 30 multi-unit buildings can compost, but the pilot program was so successful that it is being rolled out to all the remaining buildings over the next 18 months. Soon every Toronto home will be able to participate in the City’s Green Bin organics program.  

We all remember the recycling revolution; I think it’s time now for the composting revolution.

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3 responses to “Composting: the new recycling

  1. mikaela

    Welcome back!

  2. Kelly

    Welcome back! I was waiting for your return…I know you have be busy. I just love your writing style and wit! I would love to get together with you and your mom sometime. Send her my love! Congrats on the (green) Co-habitation…it must save energy and reduce the carbon foot print somehow : )
    Lots of love,

  3. Pingback: Life: An Update « her Nature his Nurture

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